Dave Niehaus Dies at Age 75

Dave Niehaus passed away earlier today and took with him a generation’s worth of Mariner memories.  In an era dominated by the increasing presence of TV, Internet and Sportscenter highlights, Dave’s was a voice that mattered. He narrated some of the best Summers that Seattle has ever seen: 1995’s refusal to lose, the record breaking season of 2001 and all the ups and downs before, between, and after.

If you’re a Mariner fan, chances are that Dave’s voice is intertwined in all of your favorite baseball moments. One such moment for me occurred during the 1995 Divisional Playoffs against the Yankees. My grandmother was damn near on her deathbed with cancer, but listened intently to every single game, most of all to follow the exploits of Edgar Martinez. She had a bit of a crush on the friendly Puerto Rican DH.

Game 4 of the divisional series occurred on a night when my parents had already planned to take her out to a nice dinner.  No problem it turned out, she could bring a portable radio, and Dave Niehaus, with her to follow all the action. And what action there was. My grandmother provided her tablemates with brief updates throughout the game. From what everyone could gather, the Mariners had stormed back from a 5-0 deficit to tie the game at 6-6 in the 6th inning….and Edgar Martinez was up with the bases loaded.

A few moments later, my grandmother points her finger and jabs it into the air repeatedly, reaching higher and more gleefully each time. But, what had happened? If you watched carefully, you could see her mouth the words to a now familiar Dave Niehaus home run call…

“BREAK OUT THE RYE BREAD AND THE MUSTARD!”

 

Seattle Sports Links: 20101004

In lieu of me actually writing a post about the goings-ons in the sports world, here’s a few places I’ll suggest you go:

Arizona Fall League Rosters Announced

The rosters for the Arizona Fall League were recently announced. The fall league generally takes the 6 or 7 of the best AA and AAA prospects from every organization and brings them together in a 6 team league each Fall in….wait for it….Arizona.

If you’re looking for an off-season baseball fix and would like a glimpse into the M’s future, the league is an easy non-stop flight from Seattle, offers cheap and readily available tickets in great spring training ballparks, and plenty of sun. This year, the league boasts 30 former first round draft picks amongst the 1 or so players invited.

The Peoria Javelinas are playing games from October 12 to November 18 and feature 7 M’s farmhands:

  • Dustin Ackley, the 2009 #2 overall pick and the only AFL player on the M’s 40 man roster
  • Maikel Clieto, a burly righthander who came over in the JJ Putz trade and is rated our 11th best prospect.
  • Josh Fields, a hard throwing reliever who was the M’s #1 pick in the 2008 draft
  • The much ballyhooed Josh Lueke who, regardless of his past, does throw cheese and held AAA’ers to a .217 average
  • Tom Wilhelmsen, who has an equally interesting, but less nefarious, past. He’s back in the game after 8 years away.
  • Matt Mangini, the Rainiers third basement who jacked 18 homeruns this year.
  • Nate Tenbrink who sported an OBP of 1.095 at High A before finishing the year at West Tennessee.

BONUS QUESTION: Which Peoria Javelina player pictured below is the infamous Josh Lueke?

Rainout Links – 20100907

Sorry loyal readers, many of you may have been wondering “Linky, linky?” as I’ve been a bit absent from the world of Seattle Sports. Well here you are, only the choicest, tastiest Seattle sports happenings:

Rainout Links: August 23, 2010

Here’s a veritable smorgasbord of Seattle sports news you otherwise might not see.

Paul DePodesta: 3 High Schoolers Leave $5M on the Table

If you don’t read Paul DePodesta’s blog, you’re missing the boat. The Padres’ Assistant GM gives an open and candid view into life in a MLB front office. It’s pretty remarkable and I’d love to see someone in the M’s organization offer up a similar level of transparency.

Today’s entry is worth highlighting as it depicts the final 24 hours of the signing period for players drafted in the 2010 amateur first year players draft (ie, the MLB draft).  This is the gem of the post:

At 11:59 eastern time last night, we had over $5 million of offers on the table to three high school players, and they all turned down the money, two of them due to a strong commitment to school. We even had two offers to high school right-handers that would have paid them both like top ten picks in the country! Surreal indeed.

This is jaw-dropping at a fairly basic level. A high school pitcher (read: injury prone, hard to project career performance) turning down a multi-million dollar guaranteed contract to take themselves off the table for three years is mind-boggling. College is fun, especially where these kids are headed (Florida, Stanford et al), but really?

I suppose the illogicality (real word?) of the baseball draft is a somewhat logical result of combining…

  • Largely high school age kids and, even worse, high school parents
  • A fixed time period to negotiate, as the deadline is just 2 months or so post-draft
  • Real alternatives in the form of a full ride to Stanford/Florida/Texas for the draft pick and a compensation pick for the ball club
  • The lack of a slotting system that bounds compensation means that a prospect’s “signability” and a teams willingness to pay dictate selection order as much, or more, than talent

If you’re looking for an exhibit B to all of this, the M’s just signed a 16th round pick to a $800K bonus.

UPDATE: Here’s a great bit of analysis on the the  negotiations between 9th overall pick Karsten Whitson and the Padres. Unfortunately, he got hosed by bad advice. Jeff Moorad, the Padres owner, could hear Whitson bawling on the other end of the phone as his agent drove everything (most notably, a $2M signing bonus) into the ditch. Ouch.

Rainout Links, 8/11/2010

Here’s a sampling of Seattle sports news from people who actually take time to write: